New maps slip Tomasso’s GOP opponent into Guthrie’s districtDecember 9th, 2011 at 1:09 pm by Ted Nesi under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site
Update: While the gist of this post is accurate – Guthrie does look to be a redistricting targeted – the details of which map does what were a little off (specifically House B). That error is entirely my responsibility, though I’d argue it points to how difficult the commission is making it to compare exactly what they’re considering versus the status quo.
Read this new post explaining what’s going on and showing all three maps plus the current district. The original post is available after the jump.
Original post: Few lawmakers will be more vulnerable next November than State Rep. Lisa Tomasso. But it looks like the redistricting commission may remove one of the Coventry Democrat’s major obstacles to reelection: her Republican challenger.
Tomasso’s gain would be another vulnerable lawmaker’s loss – State Rep. Scott Guthrie, a Democrat who’s been a thorn in the side of House Speaker Gordon Fox and his leadership team at the State House.
Two of the commission’s three proposed maps would move a handful of neighborhoods in Coventry east of the Flat River Reservoir out of Tomasso’s District 29 and into Guthrie’s District 28. They just happen to include the home address of Keith Anderson, the Republican who is currently running against Tomasso.
One of the maps in particular – House B – seems to go out of its way to take Anderson out of Tomasso’s district and put him in Guthrie’s. Take a look. The little silver of purple in the yellow box slated to join District 28 is Anderson’s street:
Tomasso and Guthrie may represent neighboring districts, but their political profiles are quite different. Tomasso is a down-the-line Democrat and loyal soldier for House Speaker Gordon Fox. Guthrie is a mustachioed rebel who backed Thomas Winfield over Fox for speaker and fought forcefully against the pension bill.
Anderson, a paraplegic East Providence High School teacher who was featured in The Providence Journal last year, has a decent chance in either district. Tomasso had a tougher fight than Guthrie in 2010 – she defeated her Republican opponent by a razor-thin margin of eight votes, while he won by 213.
On the other hand, District 28 was Republican for most of the past decade – Guthrie first won the seat in a 2001 special election, lost it to Republican Victor Moffitt in 2002, then won it back when Moffitt retired in 2008. Guthrie is known as an energetic campaigner, but history suggests Anderson would have a fair shot there.
The redistricting commission will release its final proposal on Monday at 6 p.m. in the State House’s Room 313. The panel is scheduled to vote on it Dec. 19, and the General Assembly will likely approve whatever the commissioners pass.
Update: In an email, Rep. Guthrie said only the House C map puts Anderson into his district; House B makes Anderson’s road the dividing line between the two districts, and Guthrie says the Republican stays on Tomasso’s side under that plan “if you look closely.” (They could really use a more robust way of examining the old and new maps than jpeg files.)
• Related: How a redistricting nip-tuck would redraw Burrillville politics (Dec. 9)